Christian Advocacy for family planning (CAPFA) project
Faith-based organizations (FBOs) and religious leaders have huge impacts on their communities through direct service delivery and as community opinion leaders. They are also influential voices with policymakers.
The Christian Advocacy for Family Planning in Africa (CAFPA) project is focused on identifying and engaging willing religious leaders in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia on family planning advocacy within their denominations, and with government officials.
This would in turn impact national and international forums positively through a broader, sustainable faith-based movement for family planning at country level. In Kenya, the project is implemented in the three counties of Kiambu, Muranga and Meru.
Resources and guides
1. Family Planning Advocacy Training Guide
CHAK worked with the Churches Health Association of Zambia, the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network and Christian Connections for International Health to develop this easy-to-use step-by-step guide to train religious leaders to advocate in their own countries for family planning support and services. The guide covers how to develop an advocacy plan, how faith-based organizations can develop trainings for religious leaders, how they can monitor and evaluate the success of their efforts, and more.
Link to Full Page of Resources related to the Guide: http://www.ccih.org/fp-advocacy-guide/
African Leaders on the Role of the Church in Family Planning
Four leaders from Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia discuss the striking benefits to families and societies when couples are able to plan pregnancies. We also hear from religious leaders why churches are uniquely positioned to educate communities about family planning and reach rural areas with services and supplies.
This video was produced in partnership with the Churches Health Association of Zambia, the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network and Christian Connections for International Health.
Father John Waihiga of Kenya on the Biblical Basis for Family Planning
Hear Father John Waihiga of the Orthodox Church Kimende in Kiambu County, Kenya share his views on how the Bible supports healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy through the use of family planning for healthier mothers, children, congregations and entire communities. Father John explores scripture, such as 1 Timothy 5:8 and Genesis 1:28, to explain how Christians are following God’s call to be responsible parents and stewards of creation by planning their families.
CAPFA project achievements
CHAK has been influencing the policy and funding environment for FP in the Kenya over the last three years by increasing the advocacy capacity of FBOs and their affiliated institutions.Youth in the project counties were engaged in discussions on how the church could address their family planning needs and how these were affected by county and national budgets as well as policies.
The project utilized radio shows to address questions related to youth FP needs and encouraged religious leaders to discuss sexuality with them.
The project ensured that churches and faith communities invested deeply in the health and well-being of their youth, advocated for action against gender and sexual based violence and keeping girls safe.
A study on financing of family planning supplies and commodities was done in the project counties and findings shared with religious leaders and county governments. This was to shed light on existing gaps and seek partnerships to address such shortcomings.
FP policies supporting resourcing and financing of FP commodities, supplies and activities were openly discussed at the county and national level. The capacity of a core group of local FBOs and religious leaders was improved and commitments of MOH and other partner organizations working with FBOs on FP secured.
County governments' and county health departments' support for FP commodities has greatly improved. Dialogue is continuing for inclusion of sexuality and gender matters related to HIV. Improved FP uptake and improved method mix at health facility and community levels was recorded in project counties.
Engagement of religious leaders in advocacy at community level to address myths and misconceptions driven by belief and culture was deepened and entrenched in their pastoral care and practices. Advocacy was done in Kiambu and Murang'a counties for budget lines for FP commodities.
Packard Foundation FP project
The project pilot started in 2013 and ended in December 2017. Project activities were carried out in Uganda and Kenya by UPMB and CHAK respectively, with CHAK as the prime recipient and UPMB as the sub recipient.
In Uganda, the project was implemented in the upper eastern region with four link health facilities. In Kenya, the project was implemented in Nyanza, western and eastern regions in collaboration with six health facilities.
The overall objective of the project was to contribute to reduction of the unmet need for family planning and improve maternal health outcomes. This would be done by strengthening the capacity of community health and faith-based systems and structures to create demand and improve access, quality and uptake of FP services.
Specifically the project set out to:
The project was modelled along three key pillars:
This pillar was made of the pastoral platform supported by religious leaders and CHWs. The pillar was key to creating education and awareness on family planning methods, addressing contraceptive myths and misconceptions and offering FP counselling to create demand for contraceptive use at the community level.
This pillar was a vital link between communities and health facilities through managed linkage and referral systems that ensured clients accessed FP methods of choice either at the community or health facility.
The skills and capacity of both CHWs and religious leaders were improved through appropriate training using national guidelines.
The CHWs offered community based FP services that included distribution of condoms, cycle beads and oral contraceptive pills which they got from the health facilities. They referred clients to health facilities for long acting and permanent methods (LAPM).
FBO health facility pillar
The health facility pillar linked with the community pillar by offering quality FP services to clients referred or walking in from the communities.
The project built the capacity of health facilities to render FP services by training health workers on contraceptive technology and supporting them with basic FP equipment. The health facilities and CHWs worked closely to ensure that referrals from religious leaders were effectively linked and supported.
Commodities and supplies pillar
The project worked with county health management teams for supply of FP commodities to both the communities and health facilities. In case of stock outs in the counties, the project supplied the commodities from its buffer stock.
Capacity of faith-based health network and system strengthened to provide high quality, sustainable FP information, education, counseling and services:
The project supported 98 CHVs trained in the pilot phase to further strengthen the community pillar. The CHVs conducted door-to-door FP counselling and reached out to couples with information and education. They supported community dialogue days, reaching out to families and communities with key FP messages.
Religious leaders conducted monthly meetings where they shared progress reports and sought solutions to challenges. They engaged communities in dispelling the myths and misconceptions about family planning using biblical verses in support of FP.
The number of clients reached with FP messages and information at the community level was 1.17 million people in both Uganda and Tanzania.
The CHVs were empowered to distribute contraceptive pills, cycle beads and condoms at individual, family and community level after counselling clients.
Religious leaders were instrumental in advocating for family planning using platforms such as churches, women and men groups.
Capacity of faith-based health facilities built to improve access to affordable, equitable and high quality family planning services.
Policy engagement was facilitated at national and county levels by both CHAK and UPMB.
Meetings were held with both county and national governments to advocate for improved support for family planning. This advocacy enabled health facilities to continue receiving FP commodities from the sub county offices. Information dissemination and training workshops were also held.
On-job-training and updates on contraception were done in both CHAK and UPMB health facilities. Newly employed health workers were trained on long acting FP methods.
Develop a community faith-based FP model for replication in other Christian Health Associations in sub-Saharan Africa
The project model has been replicated successfully in initiatives addressing non-communicable diseases with demonstrable success.